Borderlands Legendary Collection for Nintendo Switch review: A wonderful port mired by Nintendo's Joy-Cons

Borderlands Legendary Collection Helios Hero
(Image: © iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: This is how you do a port right; it's just a shame that the Joy-Cons make shooting frustrating. As far as performance goes, Borderlands Legendary Collection runs well and looks reasonably good on Nintendo Switch.


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    Consistent frame rate (capped at 30FPS)

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    Visuals hold up

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    Wide range of settings

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    Includes all DLC

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    Overall strong port


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    Struggles with texture pop-in

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    Draw distance detail

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    Joy-Con controls are bad for shooting

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I've played the first three games in the Borderlands franchise twice each. Once on Xbox 360 and again on Xbox One. When I heard they were coming to Nintendo Switch, I knew I had to see for myself how well they fared. I tend to think of my Switch as my Pokémon and Mario machine, but getting to experience a solid third-party game on it has changed my perception.

Getting past some wonky controls, Borderlands Legendary Collection is a fine addition to the Nintendo Switch library.

Borderlands Legendary Collection What I like

Borderlands Legendary Collection Athena Combat

Borderlands Legendary Collection Athena Combat (Image credit: iMore)

As far as ports go, this is one of the better ones. Borderlands Legendary Collection brings the franchise to Nintendo Switch without sacrificing too much of what fans love. Because of the series' signature art style, the visuals hold up well on Nintendo's system. The resolution isn't amazing, but it can get away with some slightly fuzzy textures without looking awful since it wasn't meant to be realistic, to begin with.

As far as ports go, this is one of the better ones.

There are also a wide range of settings that players can tweak to adjust the controls, audio, visuals, and more. They're not the same in each game — the Pre-Sequel has more customization options than the first game, for instance — but you get to control aspects like the field of view, which definitely helps when playing in handheld mode.

Borderlands Legendary Collection Settings (Image credit: iMore)

Borderlands Legendary Collection Settings (Image credit: iMore)

Source: iMore

The Nintendo Switch isn't exactly known for its power, so performance on games — especially ports — can be hit or miss. Thankfully, this port doesn't fall into the latter category. I was actually impressed by how well each of the Borderlands games ran. Even on Xbox One, The Pre-Sequel would struggle with its frame rate sometimes, but for the most part, it and the other two games were optimized extraordinarily well for Switch here.

This is the perfect way to make Borderlands portable and give fans a new way to experience the franchise if they aren't in front of their television.

Borderlands Legendary Collection What I dislike

Borderlands Legendary Collection Texture Pop In

Borderlands Legendary Collection Texture Pop In (Image credit: iMore)

The Joy-Cons aren't meant for first-person shooters. Even with aim assist on and messing with the sensitivity settings, you'll still find yourself struggling while trying to shoot someone with any sort of accuracy. This made it difficult to play as my preferred characters (snipers), and I feel like you'd actually be better suited with characters that buff skills pertaining to shotguns, assault rifles, and SMGs.

The resolution is obviously inferior to what you'd get on a PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X, but that's not so much a problem because it's still high definition. What's a bigger issue are the texture pop-ins — which plague the other console versions — and lack of detail in the draw distance.

Should you buy Borderlands Legendary Collection?

Borderlands Legendary Collection Ads

Borderlands Legendary Collection Ads (Image credit: iMore)

This is where I struggle to recommend Borderlands Legendary Collection. It's a fantastic port by itself with solid performance and visuals that hold up thanks to the art style Gearbox originally used, but having to play it with Joy-Cons is a frustrating experience. No amount of optimization and aim assist can fix that the Joy-Cons are just fundamentally bad for games like first-person shooters. That said, if you have a Pro Controller, you'll probably have a much better time with it.

Aside from its controls, Borderlands Legendary Collection is an excellent port. It runs as smooth as butter on a Nintendo Switch (shockingly), both docked and in handheld. Granted, the frame rate is capped at 30FPS, which for some, isn't ideal, but it's pretty consistent.

If you play a lot of first-person shooters on Nintendo Switch and know what to expect from the controllers, you'll feel right at home with Borderlands Legendary Collection. For anyone else, I might give this one a pass.

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and bought a Nintendo Switch specifically for all things Pokemon. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.